Public divided over process

Public opinion is divided among American Samoans on the US congresswoman’s proposed legislation to give locals a more affordable and streamlined process to US citizenship.

People born in American Samoa are considered US nationals under US federal law, and must meet stringent requirements if they want to become US citizens.

The territory’s US congresswoman Aumua Amata has introduced a bill that seeks to waive the residency requirements and civics tests.

RNZ correspondent Fili Sagapolutele said many locals had called for the process to be simpler and easier and this bill also allows for an economic hardship waiver.

She said some are worried that it could open the door for children born there to foreigners to access citizenship more easily.

Meanwhile, the Western Samoan village of Sasina has paid families and church ministers their portion of lease money for land rented to Hong Kong based investors.

The 500 acres of customary land is being rented out at $US125,000 ($F255,000) a year for nonu tree farming for the export of juice and fruit.

The cash payment was announced over the weekend by the MP of Gagaifomauga number 3, Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao Schmidt.

More Stories